JR Runkel is president and owner of Fortner Insurance Agency, a local, independent agency offering home, auto, life, health, disability and long-term-care insurance products to over 2,500 individuals and 400 businesses in central Illinois. At Fortner, he has developed a business model based on offering superior insurance products and delivering excellent customer service, which has allowed him to continue to grow the business even in difficult economic times. Since he became president and principal owner of the agency in 2000, Runkel has doubled its revenues by specifically tailoring insurance products and offering them at reasonable prices rather than selling only the products offered by major carriers.
In addition to his work at Fortner Insurance, Runkel serves as chairman of the Peoria Area Action Committee for the National Federation of Independent Businesses. As such, he led a group of Peoria-area businessmen to Springfield to lobby against the former governor’s proposed gross receipts tax, and recently arranged a meeting with Congressman Aaron Schock to discuss small business concerns on the proposed healthcare legislation. On numerous issues important to small business, Runkel has been an active voice in keeping small business owners informed and engaged with proposed legislation that could impact them.
Runkel also serves the community through several organizations. He serves on the board of directors for Salem Lutheran Church and is president-elect of Peoria Kiwanis Downtown Club. He is a “Big Brother” through Big Brothers Big Sisters and teaches economics classes at a local elementary school each week through Junior Achievement. He serves on the Alumni Board of Directors for his alma mater, Wittenberg University, and is involved with Bradley University Braves Scholarship Society, Easter Seals, Habitat for Humanity and the Boy Scouts.
Runkel’s commitment to always trying to make the right decision, guided by a sense of what is fair to everyone, has built and enhanced his reputation within the insurance industry and the local community. iBi